Things That Matter

Two Marines In California Have Been Charged With Smuggling Immigrants Across The Border

Coming to the U.S. isn’t easy. It can cost a lot of money whether people do it legally or not. Sometimes it can even cost them their lives. In 2018, The New York Times reported that coyotes — people who help undocumented immigrants enter the U.S. — charged people thousands of dollars. But who are these coyotes anyway? Coyotes can be anyone, men, women, professionals or otherwise. Coyotes have also been known to exploit those they are supposedly trying to help. The job is a dangerous one that puts all parties at risk with the ultimate goal of getting everyone in the party across the U.S.-Mexico border without injury or being caught. Unfortunately, more often than not, these stories don’t have a happy ending.

Two marines attempted to help undocumented immigrants enter the U.S., but were caught en route to their destination.

Credit: @vevecurl / Twitter

According to media reports on July 3, Camp Pendleton marines Byron Darnell Law II and David Javier Salazar-Quintero were arrested at Jacumba Hot Springs, California — which is east of San Diego near the border. The men had three undocumented immigrants in their car. They now face “one felony count of seeking monetary compensation,” Fox5 reports. When the men were pulled over for questioning the two Marines began pointing fingers at one another, CNN reports.

Salazar-Quintero allegedly told Law if he wanted to make $1000 for transporting the undocumented immigrants.

Credit: @Mickpgem / Twitter

This was not the first time Salazar-Quintero helped undocumented people enter the U.S. According to news reports, he told officials that he had picked people near Jacumba Hot Springs several times before. Officials spoke to the undocumented immigrants who said that they paid Salazar-Quintero $8,000 to be smuggled into the U.S. That amount is what the standard rate is, according to the 2018 New York Times report. However, Salazar-Quintero said he was expecting $500 for the pickup. It’s unclear if he was given more.

The complaint shows that Salazar-Quintero was the one spearheading the transportation details.

Credit: @realGenerationX / Twitter

It’s unclear who first contacted Salazar-Quintero but the complaint states that Law said Salazar-Quintero was handling the phone calls which include information about instructions. Salazar-Quintero also speaks Spanish which helped in facilitating the movement.

It’s also uncertain if other marines helped Salazar-Quintero to smuggle undocumented immigrants previously or if he acted alone. One theory that perhaps helped Salazar-Quintero is that officials wouldn’t question why he would have undocumented people in his car since he is an official marine. However, if he was in plains clothing that may have been a reason why he got caught.

Both marines are distinguished officers who have received awards for their service.

Credit: @shastableus / Twitter

The National Review reports that they both enlisted in 2017 and “have won the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. Officials at Camp Pendleton said they are cooperating “fully with the investigative efforts into this matter.”

While coyotes aren’t the main way people enter the country, it’s a method that is still used whether it is through car transport or via semi-trucks.

We’ve seen previous reports of dozens, if not hundreds, of undocumented immigrants being transported through semi-trucks. Some are in there for days without water or without means to use the bathrooms. The NY Times reports that “a decade ago, Mexicans and Central Americans paid between $1,000 and $3,000 for clandestine passage into the United States. Now they hand over up to $9,200 for the same journey, the Department of Homeland Security reported last year.”

Fox News now reports that Mexico is trying to combat the smuggling of undocumented immigrants by using X-ray machines to see inside trucks.

“Mexican officials say they caught more than 200 migrants hidden in trucks the last two days, using X-rays to see the people hidden inside. The Mexican security ministry also said it found 228 migrants in a routine search of a soft drink transportation truck in one of its southern states on Monday.”

“It is our strategic objective to end the impunity for human traffickers,” Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Monday, according to Fox News.

READ: New Research Shows Most Undocumented Immigrants Aren’t Coming From Mexico But Instead Central America

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Mexican Army Wants To Pay Off Murder Victim’s Family With One Million Pesos In Cash

Things That Matter

Mexican Army Wants To Pay Off Murder Victim’s Family With One Million Pesos In Cash

The family of a man who was shot in the back and killed by a Mexican soldier is demanding better support from the Mexican military after officials offer them one million pesos, or about $49,000 USD.

Officials say that the Guatemalan man was in retreat from a military checkpoint near the southern border, when they admit that a soldier wrongfully shot at the man killing him.

Military officials are offering $1 million pesos to family of the Guatemalan man the army murdered.

The Mexican Army is offering 1 million pesos (about $49,000 USD) in compensation to the family of a Guatemalan man who was shot and killed by a Mexican soldier along a stretch of Mexico’s southern border.

The man, Elvin Mazariegos, 30, was killed by the army in the state of Chiapas by a soldier who opened fire on a car in which he was traveling with two other people.

According to Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval, the soldier shot at the vehicle as it tried to escape in reverse from a military checkpoint. He said the decision to shoot was an “erroneous reaction” because the military personnel hadn’t come under attack. The solider who shot Elvin Mazariegos was turned over to the federal Attorney General’s Office.

The family is asking for more support since Mazariegos was the family’s sole income earner.

Olga Mazariegos told the newspaper Reforma that the Mexican army had offered a single 1-million-peso payment to her brother’s family. But the family is also demanding monthly maintenance payments for Mazariego’s daughters, aged 9 and 5, and 2-year-old son, she said. She said their father was the sole income earner in his family.

“What we want is monthly maintenance, but they say that they’ll only give [a single payment of] approximately half a million quetzales,” Mazariegos said. At today’s exchange rate, 1 million pesos is in fact 377,300 quetzales.

The slain man’s sister said the army’s proposed payment will be insufficient for the man’s widow to maintain her family. “She’s left alone with her three children; what happened to my brother is not fair,” she said, adding that it was insulting for the army to say that his life was worth 1 million pesos.

Mazariegos murder comes as police brutality gains greater attention across Mexico.

Credit: PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images

Residents near the border (including Guatemalans) have demanded justice. About 300 angry residents detained 15 other soldiers also deployed near the border. Nine soldiers were released about three hours after they were detained, while the others were set free in the early hours of Tuesday morning after Mexican officials reached a deal with the civilians to provide them with “economic reparation” for the killing. The army chief didn’t reveal how much money was paid to the angry residents.

The killing of Mazariegos came just two days after the death of a Salvadoran woman who was violently pinned to the ground while she was being arrested by municipal police in Tulum, Quintana Roo.

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9-Year-Old Migrant Girl Drowns While Trying to Cross the Rio Grande in the U.S.

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9-Year-Old Migrant Girl Drowns While Trying to Cross the Rio Grande in the U.S.

Photo via Getty Images

On March 20th, U.S. Border Patrol agents found a 9-year-old migrant girl unresponsive along with her mother and sibling on an island in the Rio Grande.

U.S. Border Patrol agents attempted to resuscitate the family. The agents were able to revive the mother and her younger, 3-year-old child. The Border Patrol agents transferred the 9-year-old migrant girl to emergency medics in emergency medics in Eagle Pass, Texas, but she remained unresponsive.

In the end, the 9-year-old migrant girl died–the cause of death being drowning.

The mother of the two children was Guatemalan while the two children were born in Mexico.

The death of the 9-year-old migrant girl is notable because this is the first migrant child death recorded in this current migration surge. And experts worry that it won’t be the last.

And while this is the first child death, it is not the only migrant who has died trying to make it across the border. On Wednesday, a Cuban man drowned while trying to swim across the border between Tijuana and San Diego. He was the second migrant to drown in just a two-week period.

Why is this happening?

According to some reports, the reason so many migrants are heading towards the U.S. right now is “because President Trump is gone”. They believe they have a better chance of claiming asylum in the U.S.

Another factor to take into consideration is that a large number of these migrants are unaccompanied minors. According to migrant services volunteer Ruben Garcia, Title 42 is actually having the opposite effect of its intent. President Trump enacted Title 42 to prevent immigration during COVID-19 for “safety reasons”.

“Families that have been expelled multiple times that are traveling with children,” Garcia told PBS News Hour. “Some of them are making the decision to send their children in by themselves, because they have families someplace in the U.S., and they know their children will be released to them.”

Is there a “border crisis”?

That depends on who you ask. According to some experts, the numbers of migrants heading to the U.S./Mexico border aren’t out-of-the-ordinary considering the time of year and the fact that COVID-19 made traveling last year virtually impossible.

According to Tom Wong of the University of California at San Diego’s U.S. Immigration Policy Center, there is no “border crisis”. “This year looks like the usual seasonal increase, plus migrants who would have come last year but could not,” Wong says.

As the Washington Post explained: “What we’re seeing right now is a predictable seasonal shift. When the numbers drop again in June and July, policymakers may be tempted to claim that their deterrence policies succeeded.”

What is the Biden Administration planning on doing about it?

As of now, it is pretty evident that the Biden Administration has not been handling this migrant surge well, despite ample warning from experts. As of now, President Biden has put Vice President Harris in charge of handling the issues at the border.

As of now, the game plan is still very vague. But in the past, the Biden Administration has stated that they plan to fix the migrant surge at the source. That means providing more aid to Central America in order to prevent further corruption of elected officials.

They also want to put in place a plan that processes children and minors as refugees in their own countries before they travel to the U.S. The government had not tested these plans and they may take years to implement. Here’s to hoping that these changes will prevent a case like the death of the 9-year-old migrant girl.

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